13 Fun & Meaningful Things to Do on Black Friday Besides Shopping

You don't have to shop on Black Friday. These alternatives help you skip the long lines and make the day special.

Published October 25, 2023
couple at a rooftop bar

While other people are getting up early to snag holiday deals, you may be looking for things to do on Black Friday that don’t involve an alarm clock or a crowded store. Black Friday alternatives are really anything that doesn’t include the typical shopping trip that's often the center of the day after Thanksgiving.

Discover a new way to spend this day — it might become your new post-Thanksgiving tradition.

Alternative Activities to Shopping on Black Friday

Your Black Friday alternative to shopping sales doesn’t have to be complicated. You can choose a simple activity that brings you joy or helps you spend time with people you love. 

Common Black Friday Alternatives

If you want the easiest or most common alternative to Black Friday, give one of these popular alternative activities a try.

  • Write and address your holiday cards.
  • Prepare for shopping on Small Business Saturday.
  • Make a plan for Giving Tuesday.
  • Get outside in nature.
  • Take a road trip for the long weekend.
  • Spend time relaxing with family.
  • Host a Friendsgiving meal.
  • Unbox your Christmas decorations.
  • Volunteer with a local charity.
Fast Fact

Many people observe Green Friday the day after Thanksgiving. This is the antithesis of Black Friday and encourages a deep look at one's own spending habits and how you might be able to support small businesses instead of large corporations.

Host Family Olympics

If your family needs a fun tradition for kick-starting the holidays, this one is fun for all ages. Hosting your own version of family Olympics can be as simple or involved as you like. No matter how seriously you take the event, as long as you include a couple of teams and a few fun challenges, your new family tradition will be a winner.

Declutter Your Home

Daughter helping mother organizing the laundry room

Thanksgiving dinner may leave your kitchen in a less-than-perfect state, but maybe the rest of your home needs a little love as well. Black Friday is the perfect time to declutter since it can help you find items to donate and make room for incoming holiday decor. You can even sort through your kids' toys before Santa makes his arrival with more.

Have a Family Zoom Call

Chances are you didn’t get to see every one of your relatives for the Thanksgiving holiday. So, plan to enjoy your leftovers together over a Zoom call. Set the time, send the links, and spend an hour catching up, sharing Thanksgiving recipe successes, and having tons of laughs. 

Quick Tip

If you’re nervous about potentially awkward conversations, try avoiding the typical controversial topics that come up at Thanksgiving.

Shop for Donations

If decluttering your home doesn’t produce donation-worthy items, you might spend the day shopping for items your local charities need. Check-in with local food banks and donation centers to find out what they need, then hit the shops. If you’re sticking to grocery stores, you can still avoid the Black Friday crowds.

Quick Tip

You can also spend this time thinking of how you plan to give back this holiday season or shopping online for Christmas donation initiatives like angel trees and senior sponsorships.

Book a Family Photo Shoot

The kids are out of school, the extended family is in town, and you have a free Friday afternoon. That’s the perfect recipe for a successful fall family photo shoot! Now you can send out those beautiful holiday cards you’ve been hoping to have every year.

Plan a Cozy Holiday Movie Marathon

The opposite of braving the Black Friday crowds is staying in and snuggling up. Stream all of your favorite classic holiday films, feast on snacks and leftovers, and don’t move from the couch unless you absolutely have to.

Decorate for Christmas

Woman hanging up Holiday cards for decoration

If your family goes all out for Christmas, you might need an entire day to get the decorations out. Ushering in the most wonderful time of the year can start as soon as you unbox those tree ornaments. Good thing you have Thanksgiving leftovers, because you’re going to need an easy meal option between hanging lights and decorating your tree.

Helpful Hack

Host a Christmas decorating party with friends to make the event (and Black Friday) even more special.

DIY Your Own Christmas Decorations

If you enjoy crafting, put those artsy skills to use the day after Thanksgiving. Make your own Christmas tree ornaments, craft decorations to give as gifts, and create one-of-a-kind pieces for this year’s holiday celebrations.

Host a Sweater Swap

Even if you choose to skip the sales on Black Friday, you can still end the day with a new wardrobe piece. Have your friends over for a clothing swap so you can all clear out your closets and sport new sweaters this winter. 

Have a Board Game Day

When family lingers after the holidays, it’s hard to find ways to spend time together that everyone will enjoy. But a day of playing games and hanging out is sure to encourage some quality time and memories. Ask everyone to bring their favorite game and spend the day working through them as a family.

Quick Tip

If your family doesn't love board games but loves gaming, host a video game marathon instead. 

Volunteer From Home

As the holidays approach, you might be looking for ways to make a difference. Since it’s Black Friday, you may be hoping to spend the day at home. Volunteering from home might be the perfect solution for you, so check out the countless opportunities from VolunteerMatch

Make Freezer Meals

You could spend the week eating turkey until you’re sick, or you could use those Thanksgiving leftovers to make freezer meals for simple dinners down the road. Make a day of meal-prepping casseroles, wraps, and soups so you can have easy meals this winter or provide meals for someone in need. From turkey to sweet potatoes, there are recipes for all your leftover goodies. 

Visualize Your New Year's Goals

If you wait until New Year's Eve to think of your resolutions, you might end up choosing something you don’t actually want to do. Take this day to reflect and spend some time visualizing the life you want. Then write down your goals and make a plan for how you will accomplish them in the new year.

Reclaim Black Friday Your Way

If you're no stranger to standing out from the crowd, why not make your Black Friday experience unique too? You don’t have to stand in line with everyone else if it’s not your thing. You can make the day after Thanksgiving your own and discover new reasons to look forward to its arrival.

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13 Fun & Meaningful Things to Do on Black Friday Besides Shopping